Ryne Nelson, RHP, ARI

With the news that Ryne Nelson will start for the Diamondbacks on Monday, let’s see who the team is getting.

Video courtesy of Minor League Features
  • Born: February 1, 1998
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’3″, 184-lbs
  • Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft out of University of Oregon (Eugene, OR).

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

After Nelson was drafted in 2019, he put up good Low-A numbers affected only by a high walk rate leading to a moderate WHIP.

After the lost 2020, he started 2021 at High-A, and the walks were improved, the strikeout rate got even higher, and the batters there had no chance.

So off to Double-A he goes, and why not, since this college arm was 23 years old by then. At Double-A he shaves another point off his walk rate, the strikeouts are merely excellent not five-star spectacular, and he finished the year showing a good skill set.

This year he started at Triple-A, and here we note that it was in Reno, in the Pacific Coast League, and if you’ve read my stuff for a while, you know what’s next:

Yes, the PCL is where good pitchers go to do bad things. Not a surprise that his strikeout rate drops. Not a surprise that his WHIP rises. But we can take two things from his numbers:

  1. His walk rate stayed the same at 8%, and frankly that’s fine for the PCL.
  2. His WHIP was under 1.500, which I consider a moral victory in the PCL.

Let’s break out his months:

He actually did well in April, thinking, hey, the PCL ain’t all that!

In May the league showed him they are, in fact, all that.

He struggled back in June, and then in July and August just accepted life as it is and decided if I cannot strike ’em out as much, at least I won’t walk them as much. Seeing walk rates of 5%, 6% and 7% is very encouraging.

But here is a local news story that explains an arm path change coaches encouraged Nelson to make in early May, and the improvement that followed. You can see in June the strikeouts increased, and then the walks decreased.

Against RHB he struck out 25% and walked 8%.

Against LHB he struck out 18% and walked 8%.

It is interesting to see him face almost the same number of batters from either side, so it’s easy at a glance to see he is more effective against righties, and that’s the way you want to see it if there is going to be some edge for one side.

So what do we know about his stuff? Take it away, BaseallHQ:

Excerpt from the Minor League Baseball Analyst from BaseballHQ.com

So he has a plus fastball, and now he has a plus slider. He also has a curve and a changeup that are both at least average. This is a clear starter, and he could evolve into a #4 SP, or even a #3 if his plus pitches carry him that far.

He certainly won’t miss the PCL…

The Scouts

Warnings

He throws strikes, but his walk rate needs to be monitored.

Conclusion

He has a repeatable delivery, and he can tunnel his 4-pitch mix well. His FB is in the mid-90s and it has plus ride. But oh, that slider, it’s a great pitch.

These are the ingredients of a solid mid-rotation arm. Let the man adjust to the majors, and understand that there will be growing pains, but at age 24 and with a full year pitching in Hell– er, the PCL, he’s ready for Arizona.

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